Pulmonary Hypertension (PA), is also known as Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension (PAH), which is a condition that increases pressure in our pulmonary arteries. These are the essential arteries that are responsible for carrying blood from our heart to our lungs so that oxygen can be delivered to the lungs.
Patients suffering from PA often complain of:
- shortness of breath
- difficulty breathing
- tiredness – even from very light activity
- quickness of heart beat
- chest pains
As the walls of the pulmonary arteries tighten and constrict, less blood is able to pass from the heart to the lungs, which results in the symptoms described above. If left untreated, PA can not only completely stifle physical activity in a patient, but could also lead to other serious health complications.
Sildenafil is an orally administered medication that belongs to a group of medication that’s known as Phosphodiesterase-5 (PDE5) inhibitors, and has been approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) for the treatment of patients suffering from pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), as well as Erectile Dysfunction (ED).
PDE5 is a substance that’s naturally present in our lungs and various other parts of our bodies. One of its abilities is to break down another compound in our bodies that’s known as cyclic guanosine monophosphate (GMP). And that action is detrimental to our health, and can lead to conditions like ED and PAH.
So why is Cyclic GMP important? Well, C-GMP is what helps the blood vessels in our bodies to relax and expand, thereby encouraging the free flow of blood to various parts of our body, including to our heart. With an increased level of PDE5 in the body, C-GMP is suppressed, and this causes it to stop (or lower) the flow of much needed blood to vital body organs.
Sildenafil is sold under the brand name Revatio® for the treatment of PAH, which has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) since 2005. Another application of Sildenafil is for treating and managing ED. In both instances (for treatment of ED and PH) PDE-5 inhibitors like Sildenafil help by keeping the arteries relaxed and expanded so that the normal flow of blood is assured at all times. While in the case of ED, the arteries that feed the penile region are targeted, while for PA patients Sildenafil works by keeping the pulmonary arteries in working order.